Progress Report for Introductory Historiographical Essay

My project involves writing an introductory explication detailing the background of runaway slave research in Texas. After I finished re-reading the chapters by Campbell and Carrigan, I outlined a basic structure for the essay, included below:

  1. An introductory paragraph, including a hook to grab interest (comparison of descriptions of October 1835 slave rebellion by Campbell and Carrigan) and information about the work that has been completed on Texas up to this point
  2. Present a general overview of the argument that Texas is the same as other Southern states, then transition to a more specific focus on the spectrum of reactions to slavery (submission, rebellion, and somewhere in between).
  3. Categorization of various types of runaways (long term, toward family, to woods, habitual)
  4. Present a general overview of the argument that Texas is unique, addressing the issue of how it would differ (in its process or in the overall result). Introduce the central concept of Texas as a frontier on multiple levels (western frontier of plantation agriculture, surrounded by multiple cultures).
  5. Address the impact of the proximity of Mexico on slavery in Texas, discussing Mexico’s fugitive slave policy in contrast to that of the North, the increase of fears in slave holders, the slightly higher number of runaways (both from Texas and outside of Texas), and the impact of the prevalence versus the climate of slaves and slave holders
  6. Discuss Indian interaction with slaves, specifically the blessing and curse aspect of their relationship
  7. Touch briefly on the slave rebellions
  8. Specify that many of the arguments made were from the perspective of central Texas, and include information about the terrain, low population, and greater freedom of resource
  9. Carrigan’s conclusion of the process as different but not the outcome. Differences become more similar with increased military control and increase in white population. Overall, climate was different because slaves had increased opportunities for running away, and thus had more leverage with their owners.
  10. Possible causes and differences discussed in class, such as Texas before and after its entrance into the Union
  11. Conclusion: more research is necessary on runaways in Texas

The structure may change slightly after writing it. Currently, I do not envision using many specific examples and will probably focus on generalizations. I plan on completing a rough draft of the background information by Wednesday, but in the meantime, I would appreciate any comments or suggestions on my current outline!

One Response to Progress Report for Introductory Historiographical Essay

  1. Nice start, Clare! Since much of our discussions have been predicated on the realization that our ads may tell us more about slaveholders’ perceptions and language than about runaways themselves (given our smallish sample, our awareness that many kinds of runaways wouldn’t get ads, etc.), you may want to use this essay to convey that. It could serve as a segue into introducing the text mining that we are doing, which focuses more on slaveholders’ language.